Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, the man who sold the pizza chain with a promise to give away his billion dollars before he dies, has announced that he is going to build a Catholic university to rival Notre Dame in prestige and Steubenville in its orthodoxy. He didn’t use those comparisons, but that’s the idea. Ave Maria University will be built on land near Naples, Florida, donated for the purpose by a land developer who plans to build a town next to it that will be integrated with the school. The town will be Ave Maria, Florida.
Monaghan is putting $200 million into it. They plan to have 5,000 undergrads and intercollegiate sports that compete on the national level. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sais “As a Catholic, I am very proud that students will be able to obtain an education with the highest academic standards and with a firm grounding in religious and moral values.”
Father Joseph Fessio, editor of Ignatius Press and publisher of Catholic World Report magazine (my magazine), is the new chancellor of the university. He mentions that the Florida location makes the school central and easily accesible from North and South America, a key point in Monaghan’s vision. It’s expected to be fully operational by 2005. For artist’s renderings, check out the link above.
I’m excited by the plan because it means another authentically Catholic school with national prominence. Plus it’s someone to root for on Saturday afternoons in the fall and during March Madness.